The myth about cats having nine lives is not so new and, to some extent, is believed by a lot of people that they truly have nine lives. It is safe to say whoever said that first didn’t mean it literally, and they know that, like every other animal, cats have just one life. However, this myth has been believed for years because cats have flexible bones and ligaments.
They are also recognized to be air-tight reflexive, which naturally allows cats to turn their bodies and land on their feet when they fall or are dropped from very high locations. Compared to other animals, cats have experienced minor injuries and survived falls that would be fatal to most humans and animals.
Additionally, they are remarkably intuitive and intelligent creatures with fast decision-making and excellent agility. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of several lives for cats, which may probably cause severe injuries to any other animal, making that myth admissible. But unfortunately, the expression of cats having nine lives and being able to escape major injuries from falls does not save them from withstanding the dangers of diseases. And we will be talking about the most common diseases cats suffer from that you need to know. Some of which you may know before now and others you would be hearing for the first time.
16 Most Common Cat Diseases
Most feline deaths are brought on by cancer. It affects many different kinds of cells and organs due to the underlying cause of unchecked cell development. Environmental pollutants, second-hand smoke, environmental toxins, and genetic predisposition may all have a role in the development of cancer in cats. Some changes may take longer to become noticeable, making it difficult to spot early warning signs of cancer. Even though cancer is the leading cause of death in cats aged ten and over, it is treatable if caught early.
2. UPPER RESPIRATORY INFECTION (URI)
Clinical signs of feline respiratory infection most frequently appear in affected cats’ eyes, noses, and mouths. Though Feline calicivirus (FCV) may be more common in some areas, the Feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) virus is responsible for the vast majority of acute feline upper respiratory infections. This condition is common in cats that have lived in close quarters with many other cats. URI can also spread through indirect contact with contaminated sources like dishes, people, and the environment. These diseases’ symptoms typically manifest in the upper respiratory system are often similar. Cats with upper respiratory infections may be a nuisance to their breeder, but it usually goes away within two to three weeks and rarely causes death.
3. FELINE RABIES
The acute viral infection of the neurological system known as rabies is most commonly found in carnivores and bats but can harm any animal. Most rabid animals have neurological symptoms. Paralysis that increases over time without a known cause and sudden, extreme behavioral changes are the most dependable symptoms. Loss of appetite, anxiety, impatience, and heightened excitement are all examples of altered behavior. Infected cats with this disease may suddenly prefer to remain alone, or a formerly hostile one may suddenly become accommodating. Rabies is an infection brought on by the rabies virus; once the symptoms occur, they are considered deadly.
4. FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS (FLV)
The feline leukemia virus (FLV) is a cancer-causing virus amongst cats that is spread from cat to cat by contaminated saliva and urine. The virus can spread from infected to uninfected cats by direct contact with bodily fluids, grooming, sharing litter boxes and food dishes, and wounds from bites. FLV is a disease unique to cats and cannot be passed on to people or other animals. Although feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is not always fatal, it can leave infected cats vulnerable to a wide range of opportunistic illnesses.
5. FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA (FELINE DISTEMPER)
The Feline Panleukopenia Virus, sometimes referred to as feline distemper or feline parvo, is an infectious illness that poses a significant risk of death in cats. The condition is highly contagious. Within two to seven days of the cat coming into touch with the virus, the infection will have spread throughout the body through the cat’s bone marrow and intestines. The virus enters the body through the mouth or nose of the cat. The quantity of virus particles that can enter a cat’s body is directly proportional to the immune system of that cat. This virus primarily affects kittens and cats who have not been vaccinated, and it can be deadly if it is not correctly recognized and treated on time.
6. FELINE LOWER URINARY TRACT DISEASES (FLUTD)
The term “feline lower urinary tract disease” (FLUTD) is used to refer to illnesses that might affect a cat’s urethra or bladder (lower urinary tract). The most common symptoms of FLUTD in cats include increased urination frequency, difficulty, pain during urination, and blood in the urine. A blockage indicates urethral obstruction in the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body. Cats diagnosed with this condition will pass little to no urine and become more weak and reserved.
7. CAT SCRATCH DISEASE (CSD)
Cats owners are primarily at risk for cat scratch disease (CSD), often known as cat scratch fever. Although cats can carry the bacterium and transmit it, they seldom become ill from it. The situation makes it difficult to determine if they are carriers in all cases. It is most likely that infected fleas give the bacterium to cats. You may have cat scratch fever when a cat bites or scratches you. Symptoms include tender, swollen lymph nodes and a painful lump or blister at the injury site. Symptoms include lethargy, headaches, and fever. In most cases, signs and symptoms emerge between 3 and 14 days after infection.
Roundworms are 3 to 5 inches long and reside in the intestines of cats; they weaken cats by eating the nutrients and food they eat. Cats may acquire roundworms in various ways, making them difficult to contain and quickly spread. Since almost all cats eventually become infected with these parasites, generally as kittens, keeping your cat’s living space clean is crucial.
Diabetes in cats is an endocrine disorder brought on by inadequate insulin levels. Cats with diabetes experience impaired glucose transfer from the blood to tissues, leading to increased blood sugar levels and relative famine. Diabetes can develop to a level at which cats are at risk of dying if it is not treated. Therefore, cat owners must be aware of the signs of feline diabetes.
Fleas are typically a significant irritant, but if not promptly treated, they can be catastrophic. Anemia is the most serious side effect of a severe cat flea infection. Cats of all ages can get flea anemia, although kittens are more likely to have the worst adverse effects. If your cat exhibits odd scratching behavior, nibbles on its skin, or appears agitated, it may be an indication they have fleas and need to be treated.
11. CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE (CKD)
The progressive impairment of kidney function over time is the hallmark of chronic kidney disease (CKD). A buildup of waste products and other compounds in the bloodstream, usually removed or regulated by the kidneys, will cause cats to develop chronic kidney disease. This is due to the fact that the kidneys perform a multitude of essential functions, like filtering the blood and managing urine. If the kidneys are unable to perform their functions properly, cats tend to develop chronic kidney disease (CKD).
12. HIGH-RISE SYNDROME
The term “high-rise syndrome” refers to a group of injuries cats frequently sustain after falling from elevated locations. This occurrence is termed “highrise syndrome” because most of the falls that cats experience are from story buildings and other high sites. After falling from such a great height, the cat may have suffered significant injuries to its internal organs. The organs are at risk of bruising, swelling, and even rupturing in certain instances. Even though cats have a “righting reflex” that allows them to rotate their bodies and land on their feet most of the time, it is still possible for them to sustain injuries.
Cats with excess body fat have a shorter life expectancy and are more likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. It is generally accepted that a cat is fat if it is 20% heavier than it should be. Cats are known to develop quickly as kittens but gradually slow down as they become older. It’s common knowledge that cats mature at a slower rate than they did when they were young. Preventing obesity is essential. If you and your veterinarian are aware of the potential dangers of your cat gaining weight early in life, you can take steps to prevent this from happening. If your cat has already reached the point where it is deemed fat, keeping it at a healthy weight will be an ongoing challenge.
Parasite worms are responsible for the illness known as heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is spread from one host animal to another by mosquitoes that feed on contaminated blood. Cats may indeed contract heartworm, but they’re also imperfect hosts with a high level of resistance. Therefore, it is possible that cats infected with the virus will show no symptoms at all or only moderate symptoms. Heartworm infection frequently causes a cat to lose weight. Infected cats typically exhibit symptoms that are similar to feline asthma, including coughing and difficulty breathing. Cats with adult worms in their systems may exhibit symptoms including vomiting, lethargy, coughing, and even temporary difficulty breathing. A potentially lethal response occurs in cats when heartworms die. However, cats with severe heartworm disease can have all of the worms removed by surgery.
It is not known what causes feline hyperthyroidism; however, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the condition. These factors include deficiencies or excesses of specific compounds in the diet and chronic exposure to thyroid-disrupting chemicals that may be present in the food or the environment. The rapid rate of metabolism that results from hyperthyroidism is associated with a number of unpleasant side effects. Cats with hyperthyroidism frequently experience a reduction in body weight in addition to other symptoms such as an elevated heart rate and elevated blood pressure. An infected cat may exhibit a number of symptoms, including hair loss, rapid heartbeat, and the development of tiny lumps in the neck just beneath the skin (exclusive to cat breeds with a hair loss nature, e.g., Peterbald cat).
Conjunctivitis is an irritation of the pink ocular that lines a cat’s eyelids. It can cause one or both of your cat’s eyes to seem red and inflamed, make them sensitive to light, and cause them to exude clear, watery, or thick mucus. Your cat may have conjunctivitis if you notice that its eyes are watering or weeping excessively, have an abnormal discharge, or have reddish conjunctival membranes. Scowling or closing its eyes might be a sign of pain or photophobia for your cat. The conjunctiva of a healthy cat’s eyelids is hardly detectable and has a very light pink tone.
It might be challenging for cat parents to determine whether their cat is ill and needs veterinary care or if they are just being a little different for a while. Because cats have a reserved nature, most times you see a cat, they are either curled up in a corner or sleeping. However, As cat parents, it is crucial you keep an eye out for symptoms of severe disease and be ready to go to the doctor if necessary.
Breeders must watch out for sick cats and take appropriate measures because it is in cats’ instinctive inclination to isolate when ill. When your cat is sick, it’s crucial to note that every minute matters. Their recuperation period may be sped up by immediately beginning a veterinary session, and quick action could save their lives.